John's work Christmas party was on Saturday, so naturally I wanted to make myself a new dress. Of course being the procrastinator that I am, I hummed and hawed until late Thursday night. I knew right away which fabric from my stash I wanted to use, but I couldn't decide on a pattern. I finally settled on By Hand London's Anna, as I have made it a few times before (all unblogged), and I knew that I would have minimal fitting issues as it fit so well right out of the envelope the other times I have made it. Plus I saw the fabulous version that Gillian made for her sister and that pushed me over the edge.
This gorgeous fabric is a border print that I bought at Tissus St. Hubert back in March when we were in Montreal. It's a beautiful border print and I knew that eventually I would work up the nerve to cut into it. I have no idea what it's made of. It feels like cotton on the right side and some kind of silk or rayon on the wrong side. What ever it is, it was delicious to work with and to wear.
Instead of the pattern's gored skirt I went with a simple gathered skirt. I have seen this combo many times (as I'm sure you have too) so I knew it would work perfectly to showcase this amazing border print. Basically, I cut the fabric to the length of skirt I wanted (21" - cause I'm short) and then I just gathered the width of the fabric (which was about 58") and left a seam at the back to match the bodice. This way I didn't have to mess with any pattern matching or anything like that. I am super happy with how it turned out - just the right amount of gathers and the fancy embroidery looks awesome (if I do say so myself).
Isn't that fabric gorgeous? Anna is such a quick and satisfying make. I had this baby finished by late Friday night. The only problem that I ran into, was I only had a red invisible zip. After conferring with John I decided to go ahead and insert it even thought it didn't match. I figured that it's invisible anyway, and the red pull looked kind of cool with the purple. How was I to know that this would be my undoing?!
After inserting the zipper, I tried on the dress to figure out the hem and the zipper broke. Well it split really. After much wrangling, I got the dress off and I could see where some of the stitching got a little too close to the teeth, so I unpicked it and was able to re-route the zipper and all was well. Or at least I thought.
Saturday evening before the party, I put the dress on and the zipper split again. Ugh!! I was so bummed, and kicking myself for not buying a new zipper earlier in the day. But anyway, I didn't. I unpicked some stitching again, cut the end in half, re-routed the zipper pull, and sewed a new stop. Which luckily worked, and I was able to wear the dress after all. I did however do the zip up halfway turn the dress around to check the teeth and then twisted it back around for John to do up the rest of the way. So I think that's why the dress looks a bit skewed on my body in these photos. Unfortunately, I didn't realize quite how awful the zipper looked until I started writing this blog post. I swear everything matched up when I sewed it! Oh well! The party had dim lighting. ;)
John snapped these photos of me just before we left for the party, and in looking at them now, I can see that the dress really looks off kilter on my body. I promise that that is not how it looks in real life, it's just that I had spun the dress around on my body to fix the zipper up, and then turned it back around in a hurry so it was a bit twisted for these photos. I really wanted to make sure we got some photos of it before we left, as I knew we wouldn't really feel like doing it when we got home. Anyway, it all worked out, and despite my fear of the zipper bursting (I brought a back-up sweater), the dress was fine all night and the zipper held. John assured me that it didn't look this rough at the party, and I got lots of compliments, so all is well.
I am so happy that I was able to make my dress. Sewing is the best! It felt so awesome to be wearing something that I made with my own two hands, that fit me really well, and that I knew no one else could ever have. In the past, I have sometimes worried about arriving in the same dress as someone else - not that that would be the end of the world, but I like to be unique.
Are you sewing a party dress this season? Do you have lots of events to attend?
I hope you all are keeping well and managing not to get too stressed! I'm having lots of fun making some gifts, and stressing about others, but I know it will all work out, it always does!